Five of Cups — Spiritual Message of the Day
The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. — Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Five of Cups advises us to participate fully and unreservedly in our relationships for we never know what tomorrow may bring. This is an extremely important message that we usually ignore when we let ourselves be caught up in the hectic rush of modern life. Our lives will be more blessed if we can take a moment now and then to think about the kind words and generous deeds we would regret not having shared with a loved one.
The quote above from Harriet Beecher Stowe also offers an implicit message in its acknowledgement of how hard it can be to find closure after the loss of a loved one. This is a lesson I learned many years ago when my life was shattered by a personal tragedy.
This story began when I was sixteen years old and one of my brothers was in a fatal traffic accident. At that age, I wasn’t old enough to know how to properly process this tragedy, and I was left with unresolved grief and a damaging lack of closure, which lasted for more than a decade. Finally, a friend gave me the simple but valuable advice to say goodbye to my brother. At first I protested, “How can I say goodbye to him? He’s gone.” But my friend assured me that all I had to do was imagine that he was there and talk to him.
This process helped immensely, which is why I tell people that when they lose someone, they need to say goodbye at some point. They may not be ready to do that for a while, but they need to do it eventually in order to find closure and healing. The process I have worked out over the years to help other people is a bit more complex than what I did originally, but the basic process is this:
First, imagine that the loved one is there with you and tell them whatever you need to, including, but not limited to “goodbye.” Then listen for a response, which there will be if you listen close enough. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s your imagination. As Professor Dumbledore said to Harry Potter, “Just because it’s happening in your head doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”
Finally, it’s important to know that saying goodbye does not mean we intend to forget the person. It only means that we are willing to give up our attachment to our grief. This letting go allows us to create a safe place where we can visit our memories of him or her when we choose to, rather than being imprisoned by those memories.